Living Is Not a Laughing Matter by Nazim Hikmet

Nazim Hikmet is one my most favorite Turkish poets (the other is Orhan Veli).
I can write so much about him. But I don’t want to.
I want his poem to fill in all the space. So few lines with so much content…

Living is not a laughing matter

you must live with great seriousness
like a squirrel, for example-
I mean without looking for something beyond and above living,
I mean living must be your whole occupation.


Yasamak şakaya gelmez

büyük bir ciddiyetle yasayacaksin
bir sincap gibi mesela,
yani, yasamanin disinda ve otesinde hicbir sey beklemeden,
yani butun isin gucun yasamak olacak.

Nazim Hikmet

I try to be that squirrel. Moments are my occupation. I hope, and try to fill them with beauty; and meaning.  And if it works, I then try to hold on to those moments, even when they are passed. And smile. Seriously.


Have you ever been to Trømso?

Me not.
Not until recently.
I didn’t even know it existed.
My ignorance.

It is so far up north.
So so far up north.
Too north for a girl from the south.
Too dark, too cold, too far, too much too…
I was almost afraid to go.

Trømso is a little island town in the Norwegian fiords.
I flew there for 8 hours, changing the plane 2 times.
Munich – Copenhagen – Oslo- Trømso.
I could go straight to bed when I arrived.
I went there for work.

I went there work, and what a peace I found.
Water water everywhere.
What a daylight..
Hills, the sky and only a handful of people.
Just the peace of the nature and me.
Go there, it will be you.

There is a great espresso shop in in Trømso.
The only one.
Run by an Italian guy from Treviso.
He will celebrate your coffee in the proper espresso machine and serve itto you in  his fluent Norwegian with an Italian accent.
My piece of south in the far far north.

I went there for work.
What a piece of peace I found in Trømso.
Go there it will be yours.

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Tango Is a Difficult Thing

This thing called tango is a difficult thing…I don’t mean the technicality. That is not easy either, but on that bit you can always improve. With patience, decisiveness and sufficient practice anyone can become a fairly good tango dancer. I claim. What is difficult is the rest.The world of tango gives you a lot but demands equally lot.
It gives you a wonderful music, emotions, an additional language to express yourself.
It brings some wonderful people into your life, whom you would have otherwise probably never met.
But then, just because of this, this tango can be very hurtful…
You may have had a bad day behind you…you go out, want to dance, want to be among friends, forget, be happy go home and sleep with a light heart. Feel you belong to somewhere and people care for you.
Maybe. Or maybe you sit there the whole night, longing for some tender tandas but your ‘tangueri friends’ are only too busy with themselves. Looks go past by you, your all time dancers have eyes for others this evening. They may even be reluctant to say ‘Hello’, because God beware, that may oblige them to dance with you…
This tango is a difficult thing.
It may make you endlessly happy. If you have found your embrace, if you see the joy and shine in your partner’s eyes, who says thank you to you without using the words. You may surprisingly have a wonderful chat with someone, and feel like you have known each other forever. But then the very same person may not recognize you next time he or she sees you. Too busy with chasing embraces.
You can make someone as happy as a little child, by saying just a simple ‘yes’ to his invite. In the end he will kiss your hand and bring you back to your place greatefully, responsibly, respectfully. One night the tanguero, whom you thought he doesn’t even know you exist, may invite you to a beautiful tanda…what a mix of joy, excitement, fear…will I do, or will I be a disappointment?
And then all tango these travels…You go long ways, you fly, you drive hours and hours. You have expectations…You worked hard the whole week and you hope to find a little warm home in that dancing hall, with the lovely music and  ‘friends’.
Will that happen? You never know. But it is difficult, this thing called tango. That much I know. You may leave that dancing hall, thanking God almighty that life is a miraculous, wonderful thing. Or you may leave that dancing hall completely confused, with a self confidence equal to zero. All these years’ of dancing wasn’t worth a penny.
You take in all this. These are the rules of the game. This is tango. Either you play it or you leave it. So, next week you go dancing again. What happened?  You are the prince or princess of the evening.  Your feet hurt, your back doesn’t carry you anymore. But your heart is shining like the summer sun.